U.S. economy maintained a "modest to moderate"
growth from early July through late August, boosted by housing recovery and
growth in consumption and manufacturing, U.S. Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.
"Eight districts characterized growth as moderate; of the remaining four, Boston, Atlanta, and San Francisco reported modest growth, and Chicago indicated activity had improved," said the central bank in its latest survey report, also known as the Beige Book.
It noted consumer spending rose in most districts, reflecting, in part, strong demand for automobiles and housing-related goods. Meanwhile, manufacturing sector expanded modestly.
"Residential real estate activity increased moderately in most districts, and demand for nonresidential real estate gained overall," said the Fed. "Reports from several districts suggested that rising home prices and mortgage interest rates may have spurred a pickup in recent market activity, as many 'fence sitters ' were prompted to commit to purchases."
"For most occupations and industries, hiring held steady or increased modestly relative to the prior reporting period," the Fed noted.
Inflation was still tamed as the Fed said upward price pressures "remained subdued" and price increased only "slightly."
The Beige Book is based on economic information provided by the Fed's 12 regional banks and is released eight times a year to provide a snapshot of the local economy. It is updated two weeks before each of the Fed's policymaking meeting. Fed officials will consider the report in the September 17-18 meeting as they continue a debate on when to start reducing its 85-billion-dollar monthly bond-buying program.
Investors usually seek clues from the Beige Book for the central bank's policy intentions. Fed officials have signaled the monetary policy outlook hinges on the health of the U.S. economy.
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